Michael Blair and Joe Bucciero – Colossal Youth


When people ask me about my top five fave albums I usually give the following answer:

Beat Happening – Jamboree
Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth
Daniel Johnston – Yip Jump Music
blur – 13
Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
The reason why I like Young Marble Giant’s Colossal Youth so much is that it is quiet, quirky, minimal, unpretentious record and yet within the 15 tracks the band have created a grand musical statement. There’s nothing like it.

Also YMG are never given any print space, bar a few pages here and there. Michael Blair and Joe Bucciero have finally written an official document on the band. For the first time I was able to get some detailed information on this group. Although most 33 1/3 volumes focus on an album, in this case Colossal Youth is intimately a part of the group’s history, mainly because it is the only full length release by the band. It also is a history of independent music during the late 70’s and a tiny document of the post punk movement (although Simon Reynolds did go into this era in his must read Rip it up and Start again)

The book begins with the roots of the core members of YMG, then developing into an early history of the band, leading to their signing to Rough Trade Records and eventual recording of their debut. Here the authors go behind the crafting of lyrics and Alison Statton’s role in the album. Then the album’s success (it sold 27,000 copies in it’s first year – which is excellent for an indie/experimental record) and the band’s eventual break up and solo projects (no mention of band members Stuart and Philip Moxham producing Beat Happening’s final album, you turn me on but ah well)

This is a wonderfully researched book, stuffed with new information about the band and some surprising facts about the their debut. I urge you to read it. If anything, this book will keep the band’s legacy going for quite a while.